Column: The all-too-familiar tale of Aaron Gordon's dunking loss

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon slam dunks during the NBA all-star skills competition in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

There has not been such an obvious robbery in the dunk contest since Michael Jordan beat Dominique Wilkins in the 1988.

The 2015-16 NBA Dunk Contest was arguably the most exhilarating dunk competition I have seen in my life. Orlando Magic small forward Aaron Gordon and Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Zach LaVine put on a show for the ages last Saturday in Toronto. Despite all the excitement, the contest still left me unsatisfied. I was not pleased with the final results. Gordon was the people’s champion. There should have never been an overtime.

Gordon had the two best dunks of the evening, yet somehow he walked away with nothing. The contest should have been over after Gordon threw down a monstrous 360 jam after grabbing the ball from his mascot who was spinning in circles on a hoverboard. The dunk was pure art. The timing was perfect. And most of all, it was done on the first try.

The contest should have been over after Gordon threw down a monstrous 360 jam after grabbing the ball from his mascot who was spinning in circles on a hoverboard.

LaVine tried to rally with an impressive 360-windmill slam of his own. The dunk on its own probably deserved a 50. However, compared to Gordon’s, it was nowhere near a 50. It was essentially the same dunk without the timing of a spinning mascot. Somehow the judges awarded LaVine a perfect score, and well, the rest is history.

The dunk contest will go down as one of the greatest in the history. Gordon and LaVine exchanged mind-blowing dunks for three extra rounds before LaVine was eventually named the winner. However, this dunk contest should have an asterisk next to it. *Gordon was robbed.

There has not been such an obvious robbery in the dunk contest since Michael Jordan beat Dominique Wilkins in the 1988.

Wilkins should have won that contest, but Jordan somehow escaped with the trophy because the contest was held in Chicago that year. The most ironic part these two contests is that the guys who did not actually jump from the free throw line (Jordan and LaVine) robbed both Wilkins and Gordon. Both Jordan and LaVine were about a foot short.

So, should Aaron Gordon hang his head low? Absolutely not. His brand has probably gone through the roof since last weekend. He has proven himself as one of the premiere athletes in the game. There is probably only two or three players in the entire league that could have jumped over a mascot sideways, put the ball under the legs and finished.

Gordon may not have won, but his dunks will live on forever. I can assure you that. 


Eddie Leonard is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at edward.leonard_iii@uconn.eduHe tweets@EddieLeonard23.